Vijaya Sherry Chand
Professor & Chairperson, Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation
Ahmedabad 380015, India
Tel: (O) +91-79-66324863, (R) +91-79-66325431
After obtaining a diploma (specialization in Agriculture) from IIMA in 1982, worked for eleven years in social development. Joined the Ravi J Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation (RJMCEI) at IIMA as Fellow in 1993, obtained a PhD in Education (educational philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi) from Gujarat University in 1997, and was appointed to a faculty position the same year. Areas of specialization: innovation in education, management of education, social entrepreneurship and the non-profit sector. From 1982 to 1993, worked with social development organizations, planning and implementing a variety of developmental programs for socio-economically marginalized dalit and tribal communities in western and central India, within an educational framework that combined augmenting social awareness and justice with concrete economic development. The projects mainly related to non-formal education, agro-processing, animal husbandry, rural housing, watershed and rainwater harvesting systems, forestry cooperatives, community health and legal rights of marginalized communities. Most of these had a special focus on countering gender and caste as ideologies.
As a Fellow at the RJMCEI (1993-1997), undertook research projects in basic and rural education, and on Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of education, especially his nai talim, and its application to institutions of rural studies in Gujarat. Current research interests include teacher-driven workplace innovation, the consequences of innovative work performance of teachers for learning climate and children’s motivation, and using teacher innovations for online professional development of teachers in the public system.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
Mainstreaming the Knowledge of Innovative Practitioners
This project aims at leveraging teacher-generated innovations to promote a decentralized and peer-driven approach to teacher development that can complement top-down reform. It has created an ‘Educational Innovations Bank’ (EI Bank), a clearing house for innovations of government school teachers who have achieved their educational goals in spite of facing the same constraints that thousands of others face. As of November 2018, the EI Bank had developed a repository of about 18000 teacher-driven practices, mainly from Gujarat and Maharashtra (www.inshodh.org). The EI Bank was supported by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai (2005-07); the Hewlett-Packard Sustainability and Social Innovation Award (2013) has made the scaling up of the work and its conversion into a web-based resource possible.
Experimental Design and Development of Online Professional Development Platform
The objective of this project is to develop a cost-effective platform for online in-service professional development of teachers that uses a curriculum based on cases of teacher-driven innovations. Two pilots for about 2000 government school principals on governance were conducted during January to October 2017, and then a program for 19000 teachers of science and math in Gujarat conducted from May to December 2018. The program was further expanded to 140,000 teachers for grade 1-8. It also incorporated the development of capabilities with the state system for designing and implementing online professional development. The program was completed in January 2020.
Leveraging technology for teacher innovation-based professional development
The aim of this project is to develop a network mechanism to disseminate problem-solving innovations and promote discussion on particular innovations. A mobile phone-based discussion forum receives a link to one of the innovations in the EI Bank every 10 days, and the best responses are fed back to the forum. About 10,000 teachers are members of this forum. A similar activity is carried out through about 90 WhatsApp groups. The work has now been extended to studying self-initiated teacher development groups that use Facebook, websites or WhatsApp as communication tools and has been incorporated into the online professional development platform.
Building a culture of innovation in the public system: Educational Innovation Fairs
This project aims to examine the effectiveness of “Educational Innovation Fairs” as a tool for developing a culture of innovation in the District Institutes of Education and Training in Gujarat. IIMA was directly involved in the first two “Educational Innovation Fairs” 2016 and 2017. In each district, about 40 teachers, whose work had been validated, displayed their innovations for two days. The stalls were visited by one teacher from each school in the district. All the visitors ranked the innovations. The top three innovative teachers from each district were invited to a state fair. A study of the program found that more than half of the visitors had adopted or adapted at least one idea from the fairs. The government conducted the fairs on its own in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Contextualizing ICT in the classroom: Gyan Kunj
Gyan Kunj is a digital classroom initiative of the Government of Gujarat launched in September 2017. This study was an assessment of its progress during its first year and has been completed. Based on the findings, some changes to the way in which technology is integrated have been recommended.
Re-contextualization of policy objects related to school-based governance and the construction of models of governance
The second part of this study seeks to understand, from the perspective of school principals, the features of the models of school governance developed by them as a result of their re-contextualization of policy guidelines concerning school management committees. The study is based on in-depth case studies of selected teachers and school management committees. It is expected to be completed in mid-2020.
Does Project Implementation Training Affect Decisional Style of School Management Committee Members
This project was focused on improving governance in school management committees. In contrast to the official training programs which focused on communication of roles and responsibilities of the members, the project implemented a project-based training module that offered the participating members a chance to engage in actual decision-making. The decisional styles of the 603 SMC members from 100 villages who participated were tracked over a nine-month period. The results were positive and recommendations for school governance have been made.
Scholars for Change: Online Internship Opportunity for Students
This project, initiated in 2014, has demonstrated the feasibility of an online internship program. It argues that providing higher education students a learning-by-doing opportunity in the form of a challenge related to social development can meet the desire of students to engage in reflective learning and address some key concerns related to school development, such as the digital divide in government schools. The internship has seen the participation of more than 800 students who have produced about 4500 videos, many with teaching manuals, to supplement Science and Math teaching in Classes 6 to 8 and language in Classes 1 to 5, and about 2500 projects in Science and Math for Classes 6 to 8. Packages prepared from this content are being distributed for offline use.
A Socio-Ecological Perspective for School System Reform: Developing and Validating the Indian School Climate Survey (Kathan Shukla & Vijaya Sherry Chand)
School climate is one of the most consistent predictors of academic achievement, psychological wellbeing in students, and dropout rates. The concept of school climate presents a useful mechanism for driving large-scale school system reform. However, it is highly sensitive to social context. Most measures of school climate have been developed and validated in the United States. This study proposes to develop and validate student, teacher, and principal versions of a school climate survey for Indian upper-primary, secondary and high schools. It would thus add to the under-developed literature on school climate in the Indian context.
How does teacher innovative behavior influence the non-cognitive competencies of children such as intrinsic goal orientation, academic self-efficacy and metacognitive learning strategies? (Vishal Gupta, Kathan Shukla & Vijaya Sherry Chand)
This study of about 6700 children seeks to study under-studied relationships between teacher innovative behavior and the development of non-cognitive competencies of children in the public schooling system.
The impact of negative teacher interaction on student engagement (Vishal Gupta, Kathan Shukla & Vijaya Sherry Chand)
The quality of teacher interaction with children is known to impact academic outcomes through multiple pathways. Student engagement with academic tasks is one such mediator between teacher interaction and academic performance. In the Indian context there are no rigorous studies of this relationship. Our initial studies show that though the measures currently used to assess quality of teacher interaction in western contexts may be unsuitable for India, the negative dimensions of teacher interaction may be reliably measured. This study therefore studies the relationship between negative teacher interaction and student engagement.
§ Review of curriculum of rural higher education institutions (Gujarat) to identify the scope for incorporating concepts of sustainable development and sustainable, eco-friendly entrepreneurship into the formal curriculum.
§ Curriculum review for incorporating local women's knowledge of animal husbandry and veterinary knowledge into the Dairy Science stream of the Bachelor's program in Rural Studies in a women's college.
§ Incorporating local ecological and natural science knowledge into formal education through bio-diversity contests among primary school children: Development of methodology for externalizing ecological knowledge of children.
§ Participatory Research and Gender Analysis in Natural Resource Management (as part of RJMCEI team). A number of similar projects related to biodiversity and dairying.
§ Review of the post-literacy campaign in Dumka, Bihar (as part of RJMCEI team, 1998).
§ Assessment of institutional capacities for delivery of school education in some states of Eastern and Southern India.
§ Review of gender issues and alternative schools in the Shiksha Karmi Project (as part of RJMCEI team, 1998). Similar studies in a few Indian states focusing on gender disparities in enrolment and retention in school.
§ Assessment and reformulation of teacher training strategies, Gujarat and other states (1998, 2003-04), with specific focus on decentralization.
§ Review of class one textbooks in Gujarat: Assessing integration of environmental science and language textbooks. Followed by a review of class three and four texts.
§ Studies on drop-out, non-enrollment and primary school completion in Gujarat, including a social assessment series of six districts.
§ Educational practices of successful secondary school teachers of Gujarat.
§ Institutional assessment of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schooling system (as part of RJMCEI team).
§ Institution building in education: Case studies of institutions of higher education in Commonwealth countries.
§ Kayakalp: Innovations in Higher Education. Editing a newsletter sponsored by the University Grants Commission, India, to network innovative teachers, administrators and institutions (1996-98).
§ National policy framework for assessment of quality in institutions of higher education.
§ Participation in various District Primary Education Programme/ Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and other primary education programme assessment/ review/ evaluation missions of the Government of India and external donor agencies, focusing usually on management structures, financial analysis and gender audit.
§ Short-term curriculum (1999-2000) for social organizations on gender as ideology, gender discrimination/ awareness and the interplay of gender as ideological practice and "women's development" as concrete socio-economic practice (follow up of an earlier review of the Mahila Samakhya program of GoI).
§ Management of rural residential schooling: This project, in partnership with the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, focused on strengthening the capabilities and capacities of the system to address the needs of talented rural children. The specific focus was on developing teacher capabilities and leadership within the system.
Teaching interests: Educational innovation, communication, research methodology, socio-cultural and socio-political contexts of business.
Enterprise and Innovation in Education (2013-14), a postgraduate course focusing on recent changes in management of education
Written Analysis and Communication and Managerial Communication, for the postgraduate programs at the IIMA
Communication for Management Teachers, Socio-political Contexts of Research in Management and Education: Theory, Policy and Practice, doctoral courses
Case Method in Management Education, a course that involves a case writing exercise and case teaching, for doctoral and faculty development programme participants
Qualitative Research Methods in Education, a course for doctoral students.
Other teaching interests include teacher development (school level), institution building in higher education and general professional development programs for university and departmental heads.
Administrative responsibilities at the IIMA have included chairing the JSW School of Public Policy (2017-19), Communications Advisory Committee, the Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, the Faculty Development Programme, the Admissions Committee, the Financial Aid and Awards Committee and the Postgraduate Programme in Agri-business Management, Dean (Alumni & External Relations), Editor of Vikalpa: The Journal for Decision Makers, the IIMA’s journal (2012-15) and membership in various committees. Member of the IIMA Board (2017-19).
People's organizations and local non-governmental work which deal specifically with social development, educational access and local innovations (including the work on grassroots innovations www.sristi.org). This has often extended to participation in relief activities (natural or human disasters) and ongoing interest in non-governmental organizations. In addition, participation in various committees (educational reviews and assessments for state and central governments), Gujarat Council of Primary Education, and a few Research Advisory Councils, is focussed on educational management and research.
Early medieval temple architecture, including medieval water structures in Gujarat, Tamil Brahmi epigraphy in the southern parts of South India, developments in Indian protohistory and the Indus Valley civilization sites in Gujarat, early Christian sites and dualist 'heretic' movements. Also involved in support to organ donation and Guillain-Barré Syndrome/ CIDP rehabilitation.